Take the Challenge
The Plant-based Challenge
- Prepare your kitchen
- Rid your cupboard and refrigerator of toxic food additives.
- Meal prep ahead of time.
- Continuously grow your knowledge and understanding of the plant-based lifestyle.
- Prepare your own meals - don‘t eat out! Preparing your own meals is cheapest and gives you full control over all ingredients.
- Embrace whole foods. Whole foods are foods in their purest and healthiest form. Make them your staples.
- Buy in bulk. Aim for family packages or buy in the bulk section. Compare prices by looking at the unit price.
- Prepare simple recipes. Simple recipes don‘t mean you have to miss out on flavor. And they‘re easier on your digestion, too.
- Freeze leftovers. Freeze fruits & veg that are about to go bad and make delicious smoothies or soups later on.
- Do it yourself. Prepare the basics like plant milk, sauces, or spreads yourself instead of buying pre-packaged.
- Buy in season. Food that‘s in season tastes better and is cheaper. Check out this seasonal calendar.
- Buy from the farmers market. Good option to get cheap & seasonal food. Go shortly before the market closes to make bargains.
- Do your research. Find out about current promotions & discounts of nearby supermarkets in newspapers or online.
- Buy smart. Opt for store brands, look down on the shelves to find cheaper products, sign up for your store‘s loyalty program, buy the right quantities so your food doesn‘t spoil, stock up when you find a good deal on one of your staple foods, eat before you go shopping, find coupons in newspaper/online.
- Drink water. Drink water or tea instead of soda. Consider buying a water filter
- Grow your own food. This may be challenging but also very rewarding. “Grow Great Grub” is a good book on the topic.
- Make a plan. Use our templates to make a plan and shopping list to avoid impulsive buying.
Clean Your Kitchen
SET ASIDE AN HOUR TO CLEAN YOUR KITCHEN
Schedule it into your planner if you need to. This requires some detective work. Read food labels for added sugar and other junk ingredients that don’t belong in a healthy kitchen. Have a big garbage bag ready (better yet, recycle containers if you can) to dump the junk. It might take longer, depending on how much hidden junk and toxic ingredients lurk in your cupboard or fridge.
Ideally, you’ll replace anything that is questionable with real fresh or whole foods without labels. A fresh avocado or a kiwi doesn’t come with a nutrition label, bar code or ingredient list. If you decide to keep foods with labels, follow these rules:
FOCUS ON THE INGREDIENT LIST. Not the “nutrition facts” that are mostly designed and developed under huge food industry lobby efforts to confuse and confound your efforts to eat healthy. Be conscious of ingredients that may not be on the list. Some ingredients may be exempt from labels. Get rid of these foods.
BE ABLE TO PRONOUNCE IT. If you don’t recognize the ingredient, can’t pronounce it, it is in Latin or you don’t have it in your cupboard and you wouldn’t use it in a recipe – maltodextrin, for instance – then don’t use it.
KNOW WHAT YOU’RE EATING. On every ingredient list, note that the most abundant ingredient is listed first. The others follow in descending order by weight.
DON’T RELY ON BUZZ WORDS. Beware of foods with health claims on the label. These claims usually signal a marketing ploy to make you think they’re good for you when they’re really just healthy pretenders. Things like sports beverages, energy bars and even multigrain breads (which often contain high-fructose corn syrup) fall into this category.
DITCH THESE FOODS
Now that you know what to look for, I’ll walk you through the process of determining what can stay and what needs to take a permanent vacation on your kitchen detox. When you detoxify your body, you eliminate harmful toxins. Likewise, when you detoxify your kitchen you’ll want to get rid of any food that contains these harmful ingredients.
SUGAR. You probably know obvious sugar culprits, but be aware of hidden sugars that lurk in salad dressings, processed foods, drinks and even “healthy” foods like cereals and wheat. Sugar goes by many aliases. Just as boys named Andrew often go by Andy or Drew, sugar might be called organic cane juice, honey, agave, cane syrup or molasses. There are 257 names for sugar, most made from corn, with names that you wouldn’t recognize like maltodextrin and xanthan gum, which make you fat and addicted. Look carefully at condiments like salad dressing, barbecue sauce or ketchup, which are often high-fructose corn syrup traps.
“BAD” FATS. Don’t be afraid of fat. Fat doesn’t make you fat, but the wrong fats can wreak serious metabolic havoc. Toss out any highly refined cooking oils such as corn and soy, fried foods you may have stored in your freezer and margarine or shortening. These have dangerous trans fats that create inflammation and cause heart disease. Scour labels for the words “hydrogenated fat” (another phrase for trans fat), which has finally been declared unsafe for consumption by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. Throw out food with artificial sweeteners of all kinds (aspartame, NutraSweet, Splenda, sucralose, and sugar alcohols — any word that ends with “ol,” like xylitol or sorbitol). Stevia may be better than aspartame but only whole-plant extract, not Pure Via and Truvia, which are chemical extracts of stevia. Use it sparingly. A new non-caloric sweetener that comes from monk fruit that is rich in antioxidants can also be used in small amounts. But remember, any sweetener can make you hungry, lower your metabolism, create gas, and store belly fat.
ANYTHING WITH QUESTIONABLE INGREDIENTS. If you purchase something with a nutrition label, there should be less than five ingredients on it and all things that a third grader would understand like “tomatoes, water, salt.” As mentioned above, focus on the ingredient list, not the “nutrition facts.” Make ingredients (and can pronounce them!). Seemingly safe foods like spices and seasonings can contain maltodextrin, autolyzed yeast extract and even high-fructose corn syrup that have no place in a healthy kitchen.
STOCK UP ON THESE
Now that you’ve purged unhealthy foods, you want to replace kitchen cabinets and cupboards with fresh, healthy foods. These are the ones you’ll want to load your kitchen with:
PRODUCE. Non-starchy veggies are freebies. Eat as many as you like! Limit fruits because they increase your insulin levels. Berries are your best bet. When possible, choose organic, seasonal and local produce. When you can, avoid the most pesticide contaminated fruits and vegetables by consulting the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list and instead choose from the “Clean Fifteen” list featuring the least contaminated options. Just make sure you’re buying unseasoned or unsweetened varieties. Also check out your local farmers market or community supported agriculture (CSA).
DRY FOODS. These staple foods usually have a longer shelf life and include raw or lightly roasted nuts and seeds, legumes, quinoa and gluten-free grains.
HERBS, SPICES AND SEASONINGS. You’ll want to have a range of pantry ingredients, including seasonings and spices, on hand. Buy organic when you can. Because you only use a little of some of these, they tend to last a long time so you get a lot of value from them. Just read your labels to ensure they don’t contain hidden sugar, gluten, or other problem additives.
FRESH FOODS. Get in the habit of keeping your fridge and freezer stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables.
No Garlic and Onions
As we grow in our food consciousness, we understand that our consumption of food is not just about taste. Consumption of food is also about our overall well-being on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels.
Both onion and garlic have a physiological and spiritual impact on our well-being. As with everything there are pros and cons, there may not be any dispute that onion and garlic may have some medicinal properties. But overall, they are very toxic to our mental, emotional and physical well-being and as well, distract us from our higher consciousness.
Our consumption of food should be about healing, cleansing and purifying oneself on all levels.